Air China will reintroduce its London Gatwick to Beijing service next summer after suspending the route over the winter period.

The airline announced in September that it would stop flying between the two cities from October 27 (see news, September 5).

But it has now decided to resume the four times weekly service from March 30, deploying an A330-200 aircraft on the route.

Wang Mingyuan, chairman of Air China’s commercial committee, said: “Air China regards London as an important global market, and the economic and tourism prospects for China and the UK are positive.

“We are therefore pleased to reintroduce services to London Gatwick with whom we are developing a good strategic partnership.”

The turnaround is a boost for Gatwick, which has lost long-haul routes from other airlines such as US Airways, Korean Air and all-business class airline Hong Kong Airlines in the last 18 months.

Stewart Wingate, the airport’s CEO, said: “Demand between China and the UK is increasing and Gatwick has a very clear role to play in helping the UK remain one of the best connected cities anywhere in the world.

“The Gatwick to Beijing route has proved popular since its inception in May last year and so I am very pleased that Air China has decided to continue operating this service into next summer.”